Dr. Carl H. Westcott
1912 - 1977

Carl H. Westcott was born in Reading, England on May 1, 1912. Upon completion of St. Bartholomew's Grammar School, Newbury, in 1929, he was awarded a state scholarship and one to Queens' College, Cambridge but was prevented from taking them up until 1930 by an entrance age restriction. In the interim, he enrolled in London University as an external student receiving the 1st class B.Sc. degree in Pure and Applied Mathematics and Physics in 1932; this was followed by a 1st class B.A. degree in Physics from Cambridge in 1933. He continued his studies at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge as one of the last graduate students under the direction of Lord Rutherford receiving his Ph.D. degree in 1936 for studies of the moderation and reaction processes of the then recently discovered neutron.

From 1937 to 1940 Dr. Westcott was a Carnegie Teaching Fellow at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland where he assisted in setting up a cloud chamber for detecting cosmic rays and initiated research work on the propagation of long wavelength radio waves. From 1940 to 1944 he worked at the Telecommunications Research Establishments, first at Swanage and then Malvern on military radar antenna designs and countermeasures to enemy jamming. He later (1948) co-authored a book on the Principles of Radar.

In 1944 he married Kathleen Brena Shaw of Bury, Lancashire, England and transferred to the joint British/Canadian Atomic Energy Project at the National Research Laboratories in Montreal, the forerunner of Chalk River Nuclear Laboratory where the project was moved in 1945. Dr. and Mrs. Westcott returned to England in 1946 where Dr. Westcott took up a Nuffield Research Fellowship in Physics at the University of Birmingham continuing the development work on neutron and charged particle detection and electronic measurement and recording techniques. He also participated in some of the early conceptual design work for the variable radio frequency accelerating voltage system required for proton synchrotrons. In 1949 he moved to McGill University in Montreal as Associate Professor of Physics where he continued his research and development work on nuclear particle detection and measuring systems.

In 1954 Dr. Westcott joined the scientific staff of the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratory operated by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. specializing in the field of nuclear data for scientific and technological purposes. In this regard, he developed the "Westcott Convention" for conveniently and accurately estimating neutron reaction rates in "thermal" fission reactors. His international reputation for this and his nuclear data compilation and assessment work led to his loan to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna from 1963 to 1966 where he organized a nuclear data unit to compile and assess such data on a world-wide basis.

On his return to CRNL, as well as continuing his nuclear data work, he also contributed to developments in the field of particle accelerator technology. He was the first to recognize that both positive and negative ions could be accelerated simultaneously in linear accelerators - a feature that has considerably enhanced the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility. He was also instrumental in some of the early design studies for electron storage rings that eventually led to the EROS facility at the University of Saskatchewan. Following his retirement in 1974, Dr. and Mrs. Westcott moved to White Rock, BC where Dr. Westcott died of cancer on January 11, 1977 after a regrettably short, informal association with TRIUMF.



Originally located at the University of Alberta Department of Physics.


[Canadian Nuclear Society home page]